Tuesday, April 24, 2018

All Part of a #WritersLife by Brenda Whiteside

Back when I had a day job, the weekends meant so much more. For one thing, I got to write for more than fifteen minutes in the morning before work. Maybe that's when I got in the habit of working seven days a week. I'm not sure. Now that I can write everyday, barring family distractions, every day is a weekend. Writer's Life

I thought about this on Sunday afternoon when I sat down to watch Diamondbacks baseball. I love our Arizona baseball team. Yet...there I sat composing a post for a blog. FDW sat in the recliner next to me, and I hoped I'd get the post out of my head and on the page before he caught me. I know this is not just a Brenda thing...it's a writer thing. We don't take full days off our craft...we'd feel guilty if we did. So, we rarely take a complete day off. Writers' Life.

And whether a writer is a weekend warrior or full time, it's a rare author who goes on vacation without a phone and/or her laptop. I've been known to sneak into another room when FDW isn't paying attention to check my emails.

There's one thing he can't call me on and that's writing in my head. Most of my writing is done without a computer in front of me. Actually, I've been caught in cerebral writing mode a few times. "You're thinking about your book, aren't you?" Did the faraway look in my eyes give me away, or that I didn't respond to anything he said in the last twenty minutes?

The voices in my head don't know Sunday from Wednesday. How can I explain my inability to shut them down? Then there's promotion. Yes, I've known for months that the next book would eventually get released, but there were edits and those voices. And I didn't have everything I needed to approach promotion in a meaningful way. So, when the email comes with the release date for the next book, as it did last week, there is a mountain of work to do. Because until you get that date, the ISBN number, and a book that has been edited to death, you can't do much of what has to be done.

But before you think this all sounds like no fun, there are benefits. The biggest thing is flexibility. I can take my office to the chair in front of the TV and watch the boys of summer while I work. I can work a long day and get ahead of the game so I can go play with my granddaughter tomorrow. And the only one who's keeping track of my "to-do" tasks is me. I can cheat today and make up for it tomorrow.

Yet...those voices in my head are always there. Luckily, no one knows but me (and now you) and I like it!

The Worldwide Release date is coming up this summer for the fifth book in my Love and Murder Series. Look for The Deep Well of Love and Murder on June 18.

Monday, April 23, 2018

This Is How To Be A Success At #Promo by Margo Hoornstra


Wow! Kazow! I’ve done it! At long last, I’ve FINALLY done it! I’ve really, really done it!



I’ve solved the what works and what doesn’t promotional conundrum that has so many romance authors, even authors in general, stumped.

Yay!!

April Fool!!



I know! I know! It’s three weeks past April First. Sorry. Just couldn’t resist.

Okay, so maybe I haven't completely solved the elusive promo puzzle. No silver bullet information to impart here. What I have done, though, is to obtain some insight into the problem. And, maybe, just maybe, gotten a peek at some kind of solution.

The end of last month and beginning of this, I set up a couple of Sponsored Product ad campaigns on Amazon for the two self-published titles I have out there.




and



Our own Alison Henderson had used them, I was told, with some success. Another of our own, Jannine Gallant had used them too. Why not me?

First, I needed to understand what, exactly a Sponsored Product ad was. (Bringing traffic to the buy page of MY product as the result of being on the buy page of others.) Not an easy concept for me to grasp, I’m afraid. Once I had that mastered though, I started by listing upwards of 75 keywords, in this case names of other authors with books similar to mine, AND established track records, ie high numbers of good reviews. Next was to set my daily cost limit at a conservative $5.00 and my bid limit (still not exactly sure what that is) at $.25 per and I was off.

Initially, things began to look very, very good. Impressions were coming in at about 4,000 a day for SIS and 2,000 a day for FMOL. Sixteen clicks on each in the first ten days! My exposure on KU (Kindle Unlimited) and KOLL (Kindle Owners Lending Library) was growing. People were actually reading my books! I sold a copy.

My other books, traditionally published through The Wild Rose Press 







and



were selling. Minimally, but selling.

Then, without warning, the newness of it all began to fade. Impressions dwindled to about half of what they had been after only two weeks. Currently, Saturday In Serendipity averages 400 a day, For Money Or Love a mere 100.

Nonetheless, there is movement. There is visibility. There are sales.

My plan is to hang in there for another month or two and see what happens. Though I don’t have exact royalty figures for any of the titles right now, I do know I have made more than I’ve spent.

And isn’t that what advertising is all about anyway? In that sense, this current campaign of mine is a success.

Go figure.

My days to blog here are the 11th and 23rd. For more about me and the stories I write, please visit my WEBSITE

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Being a Thoughtful Writer by Leah St. James #amwriting

About eight years ago I attended the annual conference for New Jersey Romance Writers. Since the conference takes place across the water from Manhattan, it usually draws some big names in romance fiction, and I hit the jackpot that year.

I sat next to Brenda Novak at lunch where we shared concerns over having sons with Type 1 diabetes. I attended a round-table discussion for published authors facilitated by Suzanne Brockman where she talked about how she was handling the emergence of self-publishing. And I attended a workshop led by Eloisa James. (Talk about writing “fan girl” heaven.) I don’t know what happened to the copious notes I took from these and other sessions, but one thing Eloisa James said stuck in my head all these years.

Someone asked her about her writing routine—what a typical writing day looks like. She didn’t answer right away but finally said (paraphrasing) that she spends a lot of her writing time thinking. She got a laugh from the audience, but it made sense.

Creating fiction, or any piece of writing, takes time in thought before you can start actually writing. Then as you’re putting your story to words, you sometimes have to stop and adjust, maybe consider a different angle or research a point.

Writing takes a lot of thought, and that requires time.

I was reminded of that this week, Friday night actually, when I staggered home after a 12-hour day at the “paycheck job,” exhausted, discouraged and ready for more than bed. I was ready, in that moment, to sit down and tell  TPM (The Plot Master a/k/a hubby a/k/a my critique partner) that I was taking a break from writing until the day I could (hahahaha) leave full-time employment and maybe get a part-time job.



I didn’t say anything to him (other than “goodnight”!), and he got up first in the morning (meaning fed the cat and locked him out of the bedroom). Luckily I woke feeling a bit less fatalistic. Then we went to breakfast at our favorite diner-type breakfast spot, and the conversation turned to the plot of my current WIP. (You might recall that’s the one he ripped to shreds about a year ago, the one I’ve been struggling to get back on track.)

I told him about some changes I’ve made in his ideas, and we talked them out. We looked at different angles to the story, and I explained why I decided to make the changes. I had so much fun! When we left, I was re-energized and ready to tackle the project again.

I know I’ll get discouraged again. I’m sure I’ll have many more long days at work when I come home too tired to do more than fall into bed, days when I think about chucking it all. But I hope I can remember those words from Eloisa James. I hope I can slow down for a few minutes and think about why I started writing--to tell a story. I hope I can remember again how she inspired me. It might take me another five years to finish this blasted book, but as long as I keep at it, a little every day, someday I’ll get there.

<><><><><><><><><><>




Leah writes stories of mystery and romance, good and evil and the power of love—or at least she writes them in her head. Eventually they make it onto a book form. To learn more, go to LeahStJames.com.
 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Busy as a bee by Barbara Edwards


I almost forgot to post my blog. This week has been a challenge. I’m researching a new story and plotting the story line. All of a sudden I’m full of energy. The rainy, cold weather isn’t making an impression. I ignored the rain to enjoy the clumps of crocus opening blue and white faces to the sky. the few yellow are far outdone by the others. I even have a hyacinth sneaking out. I love their scent.


So back to my story. Lucky for me its in an era I’m familiar with, northern New England. how can I forget the covered bridge, the granite quarry, the mountains covered with color or green of every shade.

The older towns have beautiful mansions from a time when the factory owners lorded over the right side of the tracks.

I’m thinking about what to name my story. What goes with spice? Herbs sounds a little hard. I can see my hero, know my heroine and what each wants. Certainly not each other at this point.

So I’m spending the next couple months in the green mountains of Vermont with a deadline of July first.

I’ll probably be sharing parts of my story as I run into problems with the plot. 
Did you know that there are scattered family cemeteries on many of the old farms?

 Please follow, friend or like me. I love to hear from my readers.
Amazon Author’s Page http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003F6ZK1A



Friday, April 20, 2018

A Tale of Three Tails or Three Dog Night In The Country

         My Family Grew When I Wasn't Looking

First there was Zap. He came into my life about a year and a half ago after I discovered him on a pound puppy website. He'd been abused, starved, and dumped outside their shelter. I was interested as I didn't want a puppy but the ad claimed he was two or more years old. 
Later, my vet would say he was more likely only a year old. 
It took a while to win his trust and he's still skittish around strangers. He also retains an almost pathological aversion to pickup trucks and large men.
However, he loves women and children and is a real sweetheart.
                           


About six months after adopting Zap, I learned about a four-month-old pup. Bred as a Cowboy Corgi (Corgi/Heeler mix) this little guy didn't fit the desired standard. Although a Cowboy Corgi can be long or short haired and all colors, their legs have to be Corgi short.
 

Here, on the left, is Kif with legs twice the accepted length. The breeder  planned to take him to the pound unless he found someone to take him off his hands. And that's how this boy joined the household. 


Image result for Cowboy Corgi
I added this picture on the right so you can see how tall a Cowboy Corgi ought to be.





It didn't take Kif long to warm up to his new digs.                                  
 
Though training is slow things were going smoothly enough when three days ago this sweet fellow walked up on the deck, opened the screen door, and walked right in.
After I got over the surprise of finding a strange dog in my house, I gently ushered him back outside. Back on the deck, he stared in at me, grinned as if we'd just shared a marvelous joke, and furiously wagged a barely-there tail. Then he simply opened the door and came back inside. 

At least this time I got to see how Houdini accomplished his skillful breaking and entering. Using his nose, he bounces the wire meshing until there is enough space to get one toenail inside - after that it's a quick slide open. He had that sliding screen door open in seconds flat.

No collar and, beneath all that silky-soft hair, I could feel the outline of every bone. So, of course, I fed him. His tummy had shrunk so much that he wasn't able to eat even half of what the other two consume.



Three days later and he's also making himself at home. 
The spot on the couch without the red cover is where I sit and the space is getting smaller and smaller. 


Here they are one big family.
 


Checking out the new guy's pearly whites, I can tell he's also a youngster. So much for planning. I now own three furry juveniles where I'd originally planned on a single teenager.

While Zap and Kif are a little jelly, they've also started teaching Bender (yes, I've named him) the ropes. Their first and most vital task each morning (after lifting a leg) is to check out the pond. You never know when there might be a Canada Goose, Duck, or Heron to bark at.

As for this crazy dog lady? I'm headed back into town for more dog food.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

What Do Writing and the Weather Have in Common? by Jannine Gallant


I took this video in the meadow a couple of days ago on a walk with Ginger. The sun was shining, the snow was melting, and the frogs were croaking. Spring had arrived!



Today is the first day of my "summer" job at the boat ramp. This is the current view outside my booth where I have two heaters cranked up to combat the 24 degree temperature. If a boater shows up, I'll probably faint from shock. LOL Not that I'm complaining, mind you, since I have a ten hour shift and nothing to distract me from writing.

April is one of those months where you never know what will happen. Kind of like my WIP (work in progress). Without a signed contract for this book/series, I've been struggling to stay focused and on track. My personal deadline (complete a book every five months) will be up in June, and I'm only a little over the half-way mark. I've come to the conclusion I won't be finished by then, and I honestly am not freaking out about that. I put a lot of pressure on myself to produce, and I need to ease up! My publisher is waiting to see how well my current series sells before offering a new contract, so I can adjust the timeline accordingly at that stage. If I get a new contract... But let's not go there and just assume I will.



I wrote in another post that I was going to put together an outline to better stay on track. I actually did! I know, shocking, right? I have a few rough notes scribbled in a binder, plot points that need to happen in the next quarter of the book. I even put together a romance arc to keep that part of the story moving forward. I was pretty pleased with myself...until I actually started writing. Just like the erroneous assumption that spring had arrived and it would be smooth sailing (get it--boat ramp LOL), those clouds rolled in and snowed on my parade. (Sorry about the mixed metaphors.) My characters got off track immediately. I tried to drag them, kicking and screaming, back to my outline, but they're stubborn. Finally, I gave up and decided to go with the flow. Maybe they'll work their way toward my plot points in good time. Or not. I've come to the conclusion some things can't be forced. My hope is my characters know what they're doing. I guess we'll find out.



In the meantime, pick up a copy of BURIED TRUTH. I need sales to get that next contract. Help a paranoid author out, and happy reading!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Loving Our Bad Boys by Betsy Ashton

Why is it that we fall in love with our bad boys? I don't mean in real life, although that was true once for me when I fell in love with a budding rock star, until he became a star and lost his way in the drug scene.

I mean, why do we like our bad boys in our books? I ask that because I have never written a story about a bad boy. My Mad Max series has strong male figures, but Max's boyfriend can't be confused with a bad boy. Johnny Medina is a decent guy who loves Max. Period.

My serial killer is the closest to a bad ass dude as I've written, yet she is a female bad ass dude. I didn't fall in love with her, but I became entranced by her story. After all, she has a "storied" career of what she sees as righteous kills. Her fans find themselves rooting for her, even as she struggles with her own psychological mysteries. She doesn't know how she would be defined in the DSM and frankly doesn't care.

So, why do I want to write about a bad boy? Because they look so deliciously entertaining. Years ago, I wrote a romance which I never sent out. It doesn't fit the genre model. The characters are both around forty. One is married; one wears a wedding band, but her marital status is unclear. When they fall in love, the conflict intensifies along with the heat. He's married; she might be. Is he a bad boy for being married and loving a potentially married woman? So far, he's the baddest dude I've tried to write.

I read about bad boys all the time. I love thrillers and suspense stories. My fictional heroes range from Jack Reacher to Mitch Rapp to Jack Bauer to Mr. Reese in the old Person of Interest television show. They kill. They're good at it. Very good. They are sexy in a dangerous sort of way. They kill people who need killing. They hide in plain sight.

Oh, hell. That Thing in Eyes Without A Face is a female version of all them with a dash of Dexter. I guess I can write about a bad ass. Bad ass dudettes need equal billing.

What do you think?

###

Betsy Ashton is the author of the Mad Max Mystery series. Her stand-alone serial killer novel, EYES WITHOUT A FACE, is a departure from her normal fare.


Monday, April 16, 2018

Life Happens by Diane Burton


Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. ~ John Lennon

I should stencil John Lennon’s quote on the inside of my eyelids. This has not been my best year, writing-wise. Oh, 2018 started great with lots of energy, ideas galore, a plan to release three novels this year. For two weeks, I was going great guns on the fourth Alex O’Hara mystery. Then, for some weird reason (which I won’t go into), I quit that book to finish one that I thought was 75% done. It wasn’t, but I’d committed to it.

Enter the doldrums of 2018. Winter blues, depression. Whatever. I was stalled during the month of February. I wrote but not as much as I could have. With March, spring was in the air. Sort of. For a day or two we had sunshine. Hurray! My energy returned. The finish line was in sight, just 10k words to write. I had the outline done, just needed to go from “telling” to “showing.” And I was looking forward to celebrating Easter with my family.

That’s when Life slapped me up the side of the head and said, “Unh uh.” I woke up one morning with a vicious sore throat and a cough. I guess Life thought I needed to remember all those people who got influenza, even those who’d gotten the shot, those who ended up in the hospital. When family members (Hubs included) had gotten hit with bad colds, I escaped. I couldn’t believe it. How lucky could I get!

My luck ran out. No Easter with the family, not with coughing my head off. Finally, I was bullied (Hubs and daughter) into going to the doctor. Guess what? Doctors take Spring Break, too. Off to Urgent Care, where I was diagnosed with pneumonia. Say what? That explained the lack of energy, difficulty breathing with the least exertion, wanting to sleep all the time.

Along with no physical energy, my creative energy disappeared. Even reading was too hard. So was Facebook and email. Binge-watching Netflix was all I could manage. Life must have thought I needed downtime while one course of antibiotics worked. Recheck at the doctor’s showed an ear and sinus infection. Another course of antibiotics. More downtime. After all that, I am feeling better. I even got to see the grandkids last week. Talk about withdrawal. I hadn't seen them in over two weeks.

The plan to finish my romantic suspense (Number Never Lie) by Easter didn’t happen. That pushed back the release by Mother’s Day even farther. I'm almost afraid to mention a release date. I’m disappointed, but what can I do? Buckle down again. Keep on truckin’.


We make plans, and Life laughs.


Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction, and romance into writing romantic fiction. She blogs here on the 16th and 30th of each month. She shares snippets from Numbers Never Lie every weekend on her blog.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Art of the Blurb by Alison Henderson

By the time you read this, I will be deep in my edits, probably moaning and tearing my hair. However, at the moment I'm taking advantage of my last few days of freedom to work on the blurb for UNDERCOVER NANNY that will become my Amazon product description.

As you know, blurbs vary widely in length and level of detail. Some are mere teasers. Others spell out most of the main plot points. I've read quite a number of articles on how to write great product descriptions, but I'm not sure I got many useful pointers from any of them. Some were written by professional marketers, and others by authors discussing the elements and style that have worked for there. I'm not a marketing guru, but personal preference seems to play a major role.

So, what about you? When you're looking for a new book, what do you look for in a blurb? Do you want a brief description that gives you an idea of the tone of the book but only a broad overview of the characters and plot? Or do you feel more comfortable (and therefore more likely to part with your hard-earned cash) if you have a better idea of the story?

I don't think most readers like super-long blurbs, so I've written two potential options for UNDERCOVER NANNY: one with approximately 100 words, and one twice that length. I would love your opinion as to which would make you more likely to hit the "Buy" button.

#1
Kidnapping. Extortion. Antiquities smuggling. Add one light-fingered, bad-tempered monkey, and it’s all in a day’s work for novice bodyguard Casey Callahan.

She has been hired to protect the five-year-old niece of archaeology professor Alec Bainbridge from would-be kidnappers while posing as the child’s nanny—a task made all the more challenging by the escapades of Balthazar, a Capuchin with an attitude.

Amid break-ins, anonymous threats, and possible arson, Casey and Alec race to identify the villains before they harm the child or make off with a priceless Egyptian artifact. All the while, their growing mutual attraction becomes a complication too powerful to ignore.

#2
Kidnapping. Extortion. Antiquities smuggling. Add one light-fingered, bad-tempered monkey, and it’s all in a day’s work for novice bodyguard Casey Callahan.

Casey has been working part-time for an all-female bodyguard agency while finishing her graduate degree. In her first solo assignment, she has been hired to protect the five-year-old niece of a handsome archaeology professor from would-be kidnappers while posing as the child’s nanny. When she arrives at the house, she is startled to learn her duties will also include wrangling the little girl’s staunch companion, an impudent Capuchin named Balthazar.

Alec Bainbridge has been balancing excavation and teaching duties with single parenthood since the death of his sister. When a stranger attempts to take his niece from school, his fears push him to hire a bodyguard. However, the young woman who shows up is a far cry from the matronly type he was expecting.

Despite Alec and Casey's best efforts, the anonymous threats continue to escalate, sending them on a race to identify the villains before they harm the child or make off with a priceless Egyptian artifact. All the while, their growing mutual attraction becomes a complication too powerful to ignore.

Do you like either? Should I mix and match elements? I want to give readers enough, but not too much. It's a fine line, and any help you can give will be most appreciated.

Alison
www.alisonhenderson

Saturday, April 14, 2018

#Binge-watching with Christine DePetrillo

I consider watching television and movies research for writing. I thought I'd share some things I've been binge-watching recently. If you haven't seen some of these, you might want to take a peek.

1. Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman - An oldie, but a goody. I love period pieces that transport be to another time and place. I've always thought the character of Dr. Mike was so well done. A true testimony to the strong female spirit.

2. Anne of Green Gables - Speaking of strong female spirit, is there anyone better than Anne? I simply adore Megan Follows as well. She is such a gifted actress and I first fell in love with her as Anne.

3. Black Mirror - A Twilight Zone-esque show but with a futuristic flavor. I'll admit some of the episodes are... unsettling. Mostly because they are not stretching the truth all that much. I'd just like to hang out with the writers of this show because they must be super interesting to have the ideas they have.

4. Everything Sucks - If you love 90s alternative rock, you'll like this show. The soundtrack is admittedly better than the plot, but you'll love the characters because you can no doubt find a little piece of yourself in at least one of them. It's also a good show to keep you entertained while you're waiting for Stranger Things to come out with a new season.

5. Cheers - Just because everyone needs a place "where everybody knows your name."

6. Bitten - I like to rewatch this to get in touch with my inner werewolf. And Greyston Holt is so nice to look at.

7. Hallmark Movies - Sometimes a night just needs a little love, you know?

8. Beauty and the Beast - Disney come to life? Yeah, count me in.

What binge suggestions do you have for me?

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for a $50 Amazon Gift eCard! Visit my website and scroll down on the home page for the details.

Toodles,
Chris
www.christinedepetrillo.weebly.com

Friday, April 13, 2018

Back on target, #amwriting still

I took some time off for hip replacement surgery, and while I was down for the count, I also took time away from writing.

It was odd; it was like my book was in suspended animation in my head. I didn't think much about it at all. But when I sat back down at the computer again and re-read what I wrote, I was ready to get going again. However, it took awhile to get the rhythm back. I was so accustomed to all that 'free' time, I had to get back into my routine.

I'm back, now, and back on track (aiming for a chapter or more a week). So far, so good. But it has been a bit of a struggle. This isn't like when I take a break after finishing a book. This was more like my brain just went on vacation. It wasn't particularly refreshing and I didn't get a burst of energy when I got back into it, not like when I take a break after finishing a book.

This tells me that I need to keep to a regular writing schedule whenever I can. It's a habit with me, this writing every day, and its one I need to keep up with. So much of what we accomplish in life is based on habits, isn't it? Diet, exercise, work -- most are habits that we've cultivated. Writing has become a habit for me and that little break showed me how that habit can slide off the tracks.

So yes, #amwriting with a bit more insight into my own personal writing routines. That medical break was good for me, in more ways than one!

J L
(jayellwilson.com)

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Remember #lifehappens and it isn't always grand by Vonnie Davis

We all know without conflict, there is no story. Romance writers can use two types of conflict--internal and external. I tend to go with the external. Something or someone trying to keep the couple apart. Most writers go the route where differences in the characters' pasts, outlooks on issues, and their varying ways of reacting to problems are just a few examples of internal conflict on the way to their black moment.

But all conflict isn't bad.

It certainly isn't always an argument. And thank goodness for that. Conflict is anything that keeps the heroine or hero from attaining his/her goal. Linda wants to fly from Chicago to New York to witness the birth of her first grandchild. Thanks to a huge snow storm, all the flights are cancelled out of O'Hare. Getting to her daughter's bedside becomes her conflict. She catches a ride with a truck driver. He could have a great sense of humor, be going through a rough marital patch where Linda can advise him, or be an eight-handed Romeo.

Writing romance helped me realize some things about myself. For one, I don't handle real-life conflict well. Writing about it can put me in a bit of a depression. Another issue I have is either a pale gray dark moment or an over-the-top deep purple one that can make a reader roll her eyes and mumble, "For pity's sake!"

But life isn't always grand in romance--or in reality. As I write this, I'm watching a nurse clean Calvin. He went into a rehab facility on Sunday and this morning had a small stroke. He can't speak clearly; he mumbles and jerks his chin around to communicate. He can't raise his right arm. The doctor hopes these things are temporary. For a retired English teacher and radio announcer, back in the day, not being able to talk is doubly frustrating.

He can't say my name, but when I ask him if I'm his sweetest angel, his love shines in his eyes and in the small smile he can still make.

I'm supposed to be writing, but I have too many irons in the fire right now. I get our taxes done tomorrow. Someone baked into my rental car Allstate arranged while ours is being repaired. And a lens popped out of my glasses.

Life happens and it "ain't" always grand.

Follow me on www.vonniedavis.com and stay well.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

#amwriting From a Slightly Different Perspective by Margo Hoornstra





Lately on these pages, my fellow Roses have discussed the writing process from their perspective. The struggles to get a book just right before it’s presented to the public. Several things to be sure of include:

1. The main characters are properly fleshed out and believable
2. Keep point of view true and constant throughout
3. Close all story arcs
4. Tie up all loose ends
5. Provide a clear and satisfying ending
6. Once finished, make sure every word is right and punctuation is absolutely perfect

The only way to guarantee a product readers will flock to and buy. Right?

Well, I just finished a block buster, made into a movie, best seller by an amazingly prolific author. In paperback format, by the way. My thinking was to get some insight in to how it’s done correctly as I embarked on my latest effort. The book I read was written in the nineties, and still today ranks right up there in block buster bestsellerdom.

So, it stands to reason each and every item of the above checklist would have been strictly adhered to. Right?

To my surprise, not necessarily.

Here’s my humble opinion on how this book fared when compared to the above checklist test.

1. Main characters’ believability. This was done to a point, but more through the actual telling of their preferences rather than showing them react. Plus they were always in adrenaline mode. Never really acting human. And, half way through an otherwise smart heroine became TSTL, and almost didn’t.
2. Consistency in POV. Not hardly. Some first person, some third. Lots of omnipresent head hopping. Hard to follow at times.
3. Completed story arcs. While passably done, quite a few character actions were left hanging. Put there, IMHO, more for shock value than story substance.
4. Tie up loose ends. Again. A lot of shock value chapter endings with storylines that were never heard from again.
5. True and satisfying ending. While the ending was a real, well, ending that rang true; it wasn’t in the least bit satisfying. Again, IMHO. It was as if the whole build up of so many previous chapters was crammed into the last few pages as almost a series of after thoughts.
6. Perfect on the page. While, of course well done in this aspect. There were errors. A few periods and commas that were missed. Some passages that could have used another content edit. Certainly not perfect.

What does this tell us? In my opinion, again, it tells us that the books we write don’t have to be flawless, they just have to be…good.

How about you? Any books you’ve read recently that, while memorable in their own right, weren’t exactly perfect in each and every aspect?

As you ponder this deep and deliberate question, here's my latest effort, Book 1, in the Brothers In Blue series On The Surface






Maybe not flawless but, the best I could do in making it memorable.

My days to blog here are the 11th and 23rd. For more about me and stories I write, please visit my website




Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Horrors! #Amwriting a Blurb by Rolynn Anderson

*#!@&^!
All of us swear when we write blurbs.  Some of us have blurbs thrust upon us by publishers (and commence swearing at first sight). We indies get to swear at ourselves for every wooden phrase or hackneyed term. Since we're all trying to use the same keywords, it's no surprise our teasers sound alike. After we place the polished blurb on the back of the book, we're still growling and groaning over this or that word choice.

I come begging for feedback on the blurb below. Many of you read my Christmas short story about Sable and Carter, so you have more insight about FIRE IS NICE than anyone else I know.  So have at this draft...even if you just tell me the phrase/idea you like and/or the phrase/idea you don't like.  My skin is thick and I need your objectivity.  Thanks!



Giant redwoods crave a scorching forest fire to release their seeds. What kind of heat will smoke poachers out of Sequoia National Park?
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Criminals are stealing 11,000 year old animal bones from the caves of Sequoia. Ranger Sable Chisholm, assigned to collar the thieves, brings along her donkey and pig. Sable is a former L.A. Agent, recovering from a brain injury, which took away fear but intensified her other emotions. Ranger Carter Glass, devoted to applying logic and statistics to park problems, is Sable’s reluctant partner in crime-solving.

Then the bone-robbers start shooting rangers, deepening the mystery and pushing the stakes sky-high.

If Sable can’t control her fearlessness to team with Carter, her career is over.


For the ancient Sequoia tree, fire is nice, but Sable’s fiery personality could reduce two reputations to ashes.